The Sleep of the Tuba-Player

By Ana Božičević b. 1977 Ana Božičević
The tuba wakes before the man. It’s a content animal:
having no word, for the moment, suits it fine.
 
It looks at him with a dun and smooth
interiority, as a glass of rum might,
 
or a worn number on an apartment building:
his hands, crossed on the chest, rise and fall with breathing.
 
In the dream, he’s ringing the bell now; climbing,
unlocking the door, peering into a glass.
 
The flat is empty. Is the war over yet? Or
was he here before the war? Soon, dropping salt levels
 
will wake him—
 
in tears, with an odd groove in his palm, as though
he’d held on to an instrument for hours.
 
For a good minute, he’ll be nameless, and when
a name does come, it won’t be his:
 
humming in thought the bright last name
he rang on the doorbell, he’ll see, in a certain
 
abrupt sunlight: he’d chosen
her, then—
to be able to call everything something.

Ana Bozicevic, "The Sleep of the Tuba-Player" from Stars of the Night Commute. Copyright © 2009 by Ana Bozicevic.  Reprinted by permission of Tarpaulin Sky Press.

Source: Stars of the Night Commute (Tarpaulin Sky Press, 2009)

Discover this poem’s context and related poetry, articles, and media.

Poet Ana Božičević b. 1977

POET’S REGION Eastern Europe

Subjects Living, Growing Old, Disappointment & Failure, Relationships, Social Commentaries, War & Conflict, Life Choices

 Ana  Božičević

Biography

Born in Zagreb, Croatia, Božičević emigrated to New York City in 1997 and studied at Hunter College. She is the author of several chapbooks, including Morning News (2006) and Document (2007). Her first book-length collection, Stars of the Night Commute (2009) was Lambda Literary Award finalist, and her second book Rise in the Fall (2013) won a Lambda Literary Award.
 
Travelers and messengers figure in Božičević’s . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Growing Old, Disappointment & Failure, Relationships, Social Commentaries, War & Conflict, Life Choices

POET’S REGION Eastern Europe

Report a problem with this poem

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.